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How Jessica Simpson Almost Lost Her Name

The pop star’s billion-dollar fashion brand fell into the hands of the wrong company. After a two-year battle, she finally bought it back.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

Photographer: Ramona Rosales/August

Of all the ways Jessica Simpson had imagined taking back control of her fashion empire, lying on a hospital bed with severe bronchitis, on a breathing machine, while 34 weeks pregnant with her third child, a daughter, was not one of them. “Her oxygen levels were dropping. I couldn’t breathe,” recalls Simpson of the harrowing, rather impractical moment in early 2019 when she and her mom, Tina, president of the business, decided to initiate a takeover bid. “I was 260 pounds. She was a very big baby. We were like, ‘Just take her out.’ ”

Her daughter Birdie didn’t end up being delivered that day (doctors were able to stabilize her), but that moment did mark the beginning of a two-year battle for control of Simpson’s namesake brand, the rare celebrity line to break $1 billion in sales. “We’ll borrow against our homes,” says Simpson of her resolve. “Even if I have to go live in a little, tiny place in Ireland, I will.”